welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: "detestable lies." donald trump's attorney—general denies claims he colluded with russia in the us presidential election. i have never met with or had any conversations with any russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election. after a year and a half in north korean jails, an american student is flown home in a coma. landslides and floods kill more than 100 as monsoon rains hit bangladesh. and a special report from venezuela where, despite massive wealth, an unprecedented number of children are facing hunger. the american government's top lawyer has been facing tough questions
about the trump campaign's links to russia and allegations that he colluded with russian intelligence to influence the result. asked if the russians interfered with the election, attorney generaljeff sessions said "it appears so" but he angrily rejected claims of collusion. and he defended president trump's sacking of fbi directorjames comey. from washington, nick bryant. capitol hill, on days such as this, america's most elegantly designed theatre. the stage for the latest instalment of a russian saga gripping washington and destabilising the trump white house. last week saw act i, the testimony of this former fbi directorjames comey, fired by president trump. now the sequel, attorney generaljeff sessions, a former trump campaign adviser, now the head of the justice department. he came out counterpunching, fierce in his denial that he'd held
meetings with russian officials last year to discuss interfering with the presidential election. the suggestion that i participated in any collusion, that i was aware of any collusion with the russian governments to hurt this country, which i have served with honour for 35 years or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process. it is an appalling and detestable lie. the attorney general has recused himself from the russian investigation, but he was adamant that shouldn't be misconstrued. i did not recuse myself. i'm defending my honour against scurrilous and false allegations. —— recuse myself from defending. the democratic senators complained he refused to discuss his conversations with president trump. i believe the american people have had it with stonewalling. i am not stonewalling.
i am following the historic policies of the department ofjustice. then tempers flared. mr comey said there were matters, with respect of the recusal, that were problematic and he couldn't talk about them. what are they? why don't you tell me? there are none, senator, there are none. i can tell you that for absolute certainty. so for once, the most angry words in washington didn't come from donald trump. he'd left town, seemingly in a genial mood, but he can't escape the russian cloud that hangs still over his presidency. donald trump has made no secret of his annoyance in the past with jeff sessions for accusing himself from the russian investigation, which means that his deputy has been making all the key decisions. but i dare say that donald trump would have been delighted with the performance of this attorney general in the last few hours on capitol hill, for it was the most passionate
rebuttal yet we have seen to the allegations of collusion between team trump and the kremlin. niall stanage is a political correspondent for the hill and has been following the hearing. he joins us now from washington. good to talk to you again. this was not dynamite, was it, in the way that james comey‘s testimony was dynamite. where does that leave the situation? i think we will see this senate committee before which attorney—general sessions testified continuing in its enquiries. but i think a lot of attention will be on the special counsel, robert mueller. he is heading up a separate investigation that will be proceeding for the most part in secret, but that is the one that really holds the most peril for president trump. any movement on the suggestion the president is considering terminating robert mueller? that suggestion was put forth i a personalfriend of the president. —— put forth by a
personalfriend. he has not backed away from that but even the vast majority of republicans i speak with, as well as republicans who have gone on record, think that would be a bad idea. theirfear is that it would be seen as a blatant power grab by president trump and perhaps even invite impeachment proceedings. paul ryan, the republican speaker, has said the best thing to do is let him do his job. i think rod rosenstein, best thing to do is let him do his job. ithink rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney—general who appointed him and would have defied him, was asked today that robert mueller‘s future, wasn't he? him, was asked today that robert mueller's future, wasn't he? he was. basically he said that he would not fire him without just basically he said that he would not fire him withoutjust cause, which would obviously require a very substantial infraction on robert mueller's part. so i think that seems to be declining as a possibility. of course it is possible, as happened in the richard nixon era, that the president could fire rod rose and sign in order to get someone fire rod rose and sign in order to get someone more fire rod rose and sign in order to get someone more malleable to do his bidding. —— rod rosenstein. but that
would provoke a crisis. one more thing from thejeff sessions testimony. he was asked directly with the president was recording conversations in the oval office or anywhere in the white house. he said, i don't know. he was then asked whether there was an obligation to preserve such records if they existed. he said, i don't know, probably. we are going to hear on sassoon, aren't we, on whether such tapes exist? —— here answers soon. well, we have had that promise from the president himself. he made that pledge in a press conference a view days ago. —— eight few days ago. but he has also suggested that he has recorded conversations with reporters, and her recordings were ever produced. we shall wait and see. the us secretary of state, rex tillerson, has announced that north korea has released an american student who was detained 18 months ago for stealing a propaganda banner. otto warmbier had been sentenced
to 15 years of hard labour. his parents say he is in a coma and was medically evacuated from north korea. at the president's direction be state department has secured the release of him from north korea. he is on his way home to be reunited with his family. we continue our discussions with the north korean regime, regarding the release of the three other american citizens that have been detained. we have no comment on his condition, out of respect to him in the family, and thatis respect to him in the family, and that is the statement that was released. so, as you heard there, american officials are not commenting on his condition. the bbc‘s steve evans has been telling us more about the timeline between warmbier detention and his release. within the last two weeks, it seems that north korea got in touch with the united states. member, these two countries do not have any dip at
collations. north korea said that otto warnbier, a 22—year—old student, was seriously ill. what happened more recently was that a state department official and to this from the us went to pyongyang and discovered that is otto warmbier was ina and discovered that is otto warmbier was in a coma. the north korean say that he went into a coma one year ago after contracting botulism. so what seems to be true is that he is now en route to the united states in a medical evacuation in a coma. how he got into that coma remains unclear. the true state of his health, how life—threatening that coma is, is also unclear. but it is clearly a n coma is, is also unclear. but it is clearly an extraordinary situation that north korea should come to benighted states and say, in fact, we have got a situation on our hands and say that we need to sort it out. let's look at some of the other stories making news.
the australian government has offered to compensate more than 1900 refugees detained at its offshore processing centre on manus island in p0p processing centre on manus island in pop and new guinea. settlement was reached just as a trial was due to begin. the supreme court in melbourne approved what may be the largest human rights on that in australian history. here in the uk, talks between northern ireland's democratic unionist party and the british prime minister theresa may will recommence on wednesday as they try to finalise their support for her minority government. the head of the uber ride—sharing company says he will take indefinite leave of absence from his post. the announcement by travis kalanick came ahead of the publication of an investigation into the company's ethics. the review was sparked by a former employee's claims the company ignored her complaints about sexual harassment. at least 100 people have died in landslides in bangladesh, triggered by monsoon rains. young children are among the dead, including three from one family. many were killed while they slept. the authorities in the remote villages in the chittagong hills
have warned the death toll will rise, as many affected areas remain cut off from rescue workers. akbar hossain has the latest from dhaka. for people living in bangladesh's hilly regions, this was a nightmare. many of the victims are buried by the last light, during the night as they slept. the areas affected are rangamati, bandarban and chittagong districts. four bangladeshi soldiers are among the dead, caught by the landslide when the army was sent in to help with the rescue operation. dozens of people are also reported missing following some of the heaviest rains in recent years. translation: i cannot find my house. it has been buried. it has collapsed due to the landslide. i was evacuated from my home. two of my family died and two of them survived. hundreds of trees have been uprooted and many roads are blocked. telecommunication links and electricity have also been cut off and contact has been lost with some of the communities.
the hills in this region are prone to collapse increase the risk of landslides during the rainy season. government officials in the area told the bbc they are facing real difficulties in searching for people due to the bad weather. hundreds of the residents living at the foot of the hills have been ordered to evacuate their home amid fears of further landslides. translation: most of the houses have been put under lock and key. the people have moved to safer places, they have taken children in local schools. everyone who is still here has been asked to leave their houses. we will not allow them to stay here until the situation improves. traffic in the capital dhaka and chittagong, bangladesh's major port city, has also been disrupted by the torrential rains. last month, at least eight people were killed and thousands of homes destroyed after cyclone mora smashed into bangladesh's south—east.
akbar hossain, bbc news, dhaka. spanish prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against the portugual and real madrid football star cristiano ronaldo, accusing him of tax fraud worth £13 million. the case relates to non—payment of money linked to image rights. he has denied any wrongdoing. stay with us on bbc news. still to come, beyond super — a new exhibition reveals a more diverse history of the american comic book hero. the day the british liberated the falklands and by tonight british troops had begun the task of disarming the enemy. in the heart of the west german capital, this was gorbymania at its height. the crowd packed to see the man who, for them, had raised great hopes for the end of the
division of europe. michaeljackson was not guilty on all charges. the screams of the crowd testament to his popularity and theirfaith in his innocence. as long as they'll pay to go see me, i'll get out there and kick 'em down the hill. what does it feel like to be the first man to go across the channel by your own power? it's pretty neat. feels marvellous, really. good to have you with us on bbc news. this is the major headlines this hour: president trump's attorney general has told a congressional committee that allegations his campaign colluded with russia are "detestable lies".
let's just stay with that story at the moment. laura tevelyan discussed the hearing with republican congressman dave brat from virginia. jeff sessions said he could not discuss his private conversation with the president. he said he was not stonewalling. that is a frustrating for voters who just want clarity? yes, it might be a little. but i think ever and can understand that if you talk to your boss at the office or whatever, some of that is in confidence, and as far as official matters, i don't know if you are familiar with seinfeld are there, but it is a show about nothing. nobody has been able to show what has been violated. there has been all this hot air, and mark warner has said that there are smuggled over the place, but no gun. they are searching for the gun. the russians tweet us, and we treat them every day. that is not in dispute.
the relationship between the trump campaign and that collusion with the russians, there is zero. it is zero. it is the seinfeld show about nothing. -- trump. jeff sessions has said that he is unaware about whether or not he had an encounter with the russian ambassador last year. given two previous meetings, too think that is satisfactory? yes, because of you go back to these meetings that supposedly happen, in one he was a senator, and they had 16 ambassadors around, and so you meet with people... we meet with thousands of people all day. i can't remember the names of my best friends on any given day. the second was in the political environment, and again, there are ambassadors or rather place, and he says arlo to these people. then two years later, you have the press on your case, saying they have footage meeting these people... —— hello. in this country, you are innocent until
proven guilty. alan dershowitz said there is no statute that has been violated. i know that is your point, but let's move on. a friend of the president said donald trump is to give out whether or not to fire the special investigator investigating collusion between the trump campaign in russia. what is your advice to the president on that one? that is just commentary from a friend. there is no news, yet also a site that anything would happen on that front. but you think they would be a good idea? -- it is unlikely that anything. it is funny that we have a special counsel when the beacon —— when nobody can name anything that has been violated. just an update on that story, and
the white house postwoman is saying donald trump has the right to fire robert muller, but has no intention to do so. more on that to come inevitably, but for the moment, we move on. maude demonstrations in the venezuelan capital of caracas, as the country's economic crisis deepens. unprecedented numbers of people are facing hunger. the country should be one of the richest with one of the largest oil reserves in the world. the international media is rarely given permission to enter the country, but the bbc‘s vladimir hernandez has been there. his report contains some images you may find distressing. this is angelie, she's eight years old and weighs barely three stone. which is 60% of what she should. this is an oil—rich nation, now unable to feed its own people. this is a problem that the government is trying to keep out of sight.
s the media can't get into hospitals, but at this private clinic, —— the media can't get into hospitals, but at this private clinic, doctors are desperate to show how bad things are. these pictures are hard to watch. they were given to me by medics in despair for treating children like these since the turn of the year. patients are often in and out of hospital, but in a country struggling for food, chances of survival are not high. kurd
in big cities, desperate people are now chasing the bin lorry to find food. people in this area, where there are restaurants and bakeries, say that never before have they seen so many people chasing rubbish trucks, to try to get something to eat. the lack of food is hitting mothers and children particularly hard. outside of the capital, food is even harder to come by. those affected are likejermaine. at 11, he's half the average weight for his age.
since i metjermaine, he's been rushed into hospital twice after getting help from a local ngo. but will help reach them next time? vladimir hernandez, bbc news, caracas. strong words from the taiwanese government, after panama severed relations with taipei and establish them with beijing, instead. ——
established. the move by the south american country has caused alarm in taiwan, which fears other countries could follow suit, act on promoting its independence. —— compromising its independence. —— compromising its independence. escalating tensions pose risks for both sides, in what is a long term dispute as cindy sui reports. this is what could happen if china invaded taiwan. and this is how taiwan's military would respond, defending its outlying island in this recent drill. this is not a real war, it's just a military drill. but the taiwanese government is trying to send a message, that the threat from china is very real. china is located only 150 kilometres across these waters. it has more than 1000 missiles targeting taiwan. it spends more than 15 times what taiwan spends on defence. the unprecedented phone call between the taiwanese president and donald trump in december had raised hopes the us would pay more attention to taiwan's security concerns. but with the trump administration cosying up to beijing lately, taiwan is feeling increasingly sidelined by its only friend, with the military muscle to help
it fend off an attack from the mainland. to discourage any move towards independence, china has been stepping up the pressure. chinese tourists dropped by more than half in herfirst year in office, hurting taiwan's already sluggish economy. and beijing has arrested more than 200 taiwanese from other countries for allegedly committing telecoms fraud against chinese citizens. the latest victim in beijing's powerplay, this human rights activist who has been arrested by chinese authorities. at this rally demonstrators are calling for his release. beijing's actions may be hurting rather than helping its cause. translation: who would want to be unified with a country that so horrible? i strongly support taiwan becoming independent. critics point out the president's approach to china is not helping
either. they say the current stalemate gives few opportunities for the two sides to interact and for chinese officials and ordinary people to understand democratic taiwan. if the stand—off continues, neither side is expected to win. taiwan can't afford a drawn out impasse. its economy is dependent on mainland. for china, playing hard ball is a risky proposition if it is trying to win the hearts and minds of the taiwanese people. a new exhibition devoted to comic books and graphic novels is opening in washington. the display includes some of the earliest appearances of characters like spiderman and iron man — but also focuses on more diverse superheroes — as the bbc‘s tim allman explains. the library of congress is, in
effect, america's national average. at these auguste always are now playing host to something a little different. they call it the library of awesome, a pop—up exhibition devoted to comic books. —— august. a medium once seen as disposable and aimed solely at children. yes, there are the usual suspects. the comic or cures we already know. but there is also a move away from the mainstream. —— book heroes. also a move away from the mainstream. -- book heroes. we want to include non—traditional subjects, non—traditional characters, so people of colour, women, lgbtq creatures and characters . when the woman, a woman who first appeared in the 1940s is currently dominating the global box office in
her first solo movie, dominating the global box office in herfirst solo movie, a dominating the global box office in her first solo movie, a film also director by a woman. —— wonderwoman in. this isjust a sample of director by a woman. —— wonderwoman in. this is just a sample of the almost 140,000 items in the library's collection. but an example of the variety and dynamism that comic books can offer. just before you leave you, we will show you pictures coming in from west london. if i have a great have said they are dealing with a fire at latimer wrote in west london. this is groenefeld tower, a residential tower block. we think about 24 stories. very unusual to see a five is big in the centre of london. these pictures are just in. helicopters in the skytrain to deal with it. we think that the fai has been gone for about half are now. —— the fire has been going for about
half are now now. thank you for watching. hello, there. the middle of the week is going to bring a peak in the temperatures. you could describe it as very warm across many parts of the country. especially across southern areas of england and wales you could describe it as hot. some sunny spells around, but that's not quite the case everywhere because on the satellite picture you can see the cloud that's been rolling in from the atlantic. this will be clipping into northern ireland and western scotland. so here there will be more cloud through the day and it will be breezy. some splashes of rain at times, especially to the far north—west. there could be the odd shower in the afternoon in england and wales. further south, long spells of sunshine and that's where we will have the highest temperatures. for the middle part of wednesday afternoon, maybe the odd shower over northern england, but 24 degrees in leeds and manchester. towards the south—east, lots of sunshine and easily up to 27—28. always a little bit cooler towards the coast. we could have 18 degrees in plymouth. fine and sunny across the south—west of england and much of wales. there could be the odd shower, especially over high ground.
the vast majority staying dry. cooler towards the coast. for northern ireland there will be more cloud, but the day is by no means a washout. a lot of dry weather, mainly mpatchy rain into the north—west. more rain in the northern and western parts of scotland. for eastern scotland there should be some sunshine and a fair degree of warmth as well. through wednesday night it will turn quite muggy across eastern areas. the humid air still in place. temperatures not dropping far. out west, a change. the ban deep of rain working through northern ireland and into scotland, wales. this is associated with a cold front and as that moves in from the west on thursday it will start to introduce cooler and fresher aironce again. still a pretty warm day in east anglia and the south—east, with some humidity holding on. but as the weather front continues
to move eastwards it will sweep the real heat and humidity away. temperatures in most places on thursday afternoon about 16—19 degrees. there will be sunshine, but there will also be hefty showers across parts of the north—west. then we'll have some showers again on friday, especially in parts of wales, northern ireland, western scotland. some drier and brighter weather further east. still up to 23 degrees in the south—east and into the weekend it looks like the heat and humidity will return in the south. always cooler further north, with a little bit of rain. this is bbc news. the headlines: america's top lawyer, the us attorney—general, jeff sessions, has made a defiant appearance before the senate intelligence committee, strongly denying colluding with russia to influence last year's presidential election in favour of donald trump.
he said he'd had no meetings with russian officials about the trump campaign. an american student who was arrested in north korea last year is being flown home. otto warmbier is said to have been in a coma since shortly after his trial. he was sentenced to 15 years' hard labour for stealing a propaganda banner. three other american citizens are still detained in the country. more than 100 people are now known to have died in landslides floods in south—eastern bangladesh, caused by heavy monsoon rains. dozens more have been reported missing following a series of mudslides in the chittagong hills. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk.